California Street Cable Car Turnaround

The California Street Cable Car Turnaround Vision Plan is a study to re-imagine the westernmost point of the California line.

  • The California Line has operated since since 1878
  • Cable Cars have been a National Historic Landmark since 1964
  • The California Street Line Connects the Financial District to the Polk Street Merchant Corridor.
  • Cable Cars are a significant tourist attraction, with greater than 20,000 riders daily (pre-pandemic).
  • The California Street line is used by commuters as well as tourists
A map that illustrates the location of the California Cable Car Terminus in between two neighborhoods: Lower Polk and Middle Polk, or Nob Hill and Polk Gulch. The location is also in between both District 2 and District 3.


  • Celebrate the westernmost point of the Historic Cable Car Route
  • Create a Gateway to the neighborhood
  • Create an urban design concept plan that addresses:
    • Rich neighborhood history
    • Sustainability and greener streets
    • Pedestrian-centered and addresses safety concerns
    • Livability & amenities
    • Diverse users
    • Traffic calming
  • Gather & Synthesize community input and ideas to create a beautiful and beloved urban space
Block Context: Map showing California Street between Polk and Van Ness. Highlighted on the map is the Van Ness Rapid Transit line and highlights the intersection of Polk street as the 'Polk Street Gateway)

Project Site is Currently Lacking:

  • Traffic island with MUNI-style shelter
  • Some sidewalk tree planting
  • Questionable safety
  • Car dominated

By Comparison East Terminus at Market Street

  • Example: Pedestrian Centered Plaza
  • Special Paving
  • Furnishings/amenities
  • Lighting
  • Safety Elements
  • No Cars

Help Us Re-Imagine:

Four images that look from the Cable Car Stop in the directions of North, South, East, and West


  • Continuous broad sidewalks
  • Buffer from traffic
  • Safe crossings
  • Places to stop and rest
  • Commercial uses
  • Visual interest
  • Uniqueness of place
  • Variable street edges
  • Pavements
  • Signage – scale & coherence
  • Street furnishings & amenities
  • Shade trees & Green infrastructure
  • Lighting
  • Art


  • Pedestrian only
  • Special Paving
  • Site furnishings:
    • Bollards
    • News Racks
    • Kiosks
  • Well-lit
  • Tree plantings


  • Special paving
  • Pedestrian only
  • Broad & inviting
  • Well-lit
  • Hanging plantings
  • Bollards
  • Commercial activity


  • Signage specific to Cable Car
  • No cars / Pedestrian only
  • Bollards / Informal seating
  • Street Trees
  • Generous Crossings
  • Shelter
  • Commercial Frontages


  • Pedestrian only
  • Pedestrian amenities
  • Trees at perimeter
  • Historical gateway signage
  • Differentiation in paving zones
  • Nearby seating area
Map of Cable Car Site with bus and bike routes

The project is a joint effort between Lower Polk Neighbors, the Lower Polk Community Benefit District, INTERSTICE Architects, and Discover Polk CBD funded by a grant from the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development.

If you have any questions, comments, concerns, or ideas about the proposed parklet, please email [email protected]

Flyer for the California Cable Car Turnaround Community workshop.